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Home Credit resolves no credit-card dilemma of the young

/ 12:10 AM March 31, 2017
From left, Dmitry Borisenko, Annika Witschard and Michal Smejc

From left, Dmitry Borisenko, Annika Witschard and Michal Smejc

From “product-focused” to “customer-centric.”

Such is the new business direction of Prague-based consumer finance company Home Credit (HC) as it recently announced its global rebranding, which comes with new innovations geared toward improving their processes in customer service.

“At Home Credit, we like to say ‘HC’ means ‘happy customer,” said Annika Witschard, Home Credit Philippines (HCPH) CEO. “We take that commitment very seriously. This rebrand is our way of renewing our commitment to our customers, that we will give them the best quality of service they deserve.”

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The company has even created a new logo for the rebrand: A smiley face, to represent the consumer, as the old one depicted the first item bought via Home Credit, which was a refrigerator.

HC’s core business is in-store financing for gadgets and appliances for those who are looking to pay through monthly installments but have no credit card. Locally, the company has partnered with 2,000 retail stores across Metro Manila and 20 provinces, with smartphones being the most-purchased product through their loan scheme.

Michal Šmejc, HCPH head of products, marketing and business development, said their Filipino customers can be classified into two groups, each with its own distinct traits: the “mobile” ones, or the millennials, young job seekers and first jobbers; and young families.

“[The first set of customers] usually want the cool smartphones, and they want it now. Speed is the most important thing for them. The second kind are the young families who have just moved into their own place and want home appliances, electronic devices, furniture. For these people, it’s not about the speed, [but] improving their quality of life,” said Šmejc— hence the company’s new tagline, “Enjoy your life today.”

To fulfill this promise, Witschard said the company has been implementing new processes that are in line with their customer-centric approach: new communications channels, such as online chat spaces on their website; additional training for their customer-facing employees, such as sales associates and credit advisors; and a special unit which reviews cases of customers experiencing extraordinary financial difficulties and helps them find solutions for loan repayment.

HC’s rebrand comes on the heels of what the company considers as their landmark year here in the Philippines in 2016, when they were able to reach the 600,000-customer mark last December—an over two-fold increase in customer base since July 2016 when they had only 280,000 clients. Their 2017 target, said Witschard, is to reach one million customers by yearend.

“This is definitely a unique market, as the Philippines’ low credit card penetration rate combined with the high unbanked rate contributed to a very high demand for nonbank consumer financing,” said Witschard. “This demand was met through our continued expansion last year and increasing dominance of our zero-interest products. This also puts us in a great position to have another record year in 2017.”

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TAGS: Annika Witschard, happy customer, Home Credit Philippines (HCPH), in-store financing
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